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Muslims mark Idd Ul Fitr with prayers at Mombasa’s Tononoka grounds yesterday. After the crescent moon failed to be sighted on Monday, those who celebrated yesterday defied Chief Kadhi who has decreed that Idd prayers be held today. [Maarufu, Mohamed, Standard]

Muslims yesterday celebrated Idd Ul Fitr, a festival that marks the end of Ramadhan, a month-long fasting period.

In Mombasa, some worshipers prayed in mosques in Likoni, Kisauni and Majengo.
Yesterday’s prayers did not draw any notable sheikhs. The Chief Kadhi is expected to lead the major prayers today.
On Monday, the Chief Kadhi chaired the moon sighting committee in Mombasa and declared that Idd Ul Fitr would be celebrated today.
Crescent not sighted
“We have been observant of the moon and the crescent has not been sighted yet. So I urge Muslims to complete the 30 days of fasting,” said the Chief Kadhi.
Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) Coast branch’s Sheikh Mukhdhar Khitami dismissed claims that the Hilal (crescent) had been sighted yesterday.
“Mandera is only one of the eight regions under Supkem that declared having sighted the new moon. The rest of the country complied with the Chief Kadhi,” said Sheikh Khitami.
“We have some Muslims who follow Saudi Arabia that declared to have sighted the moon towards 10pm, while it is a known fact that the crescent can only appear 10 minutes after sunset,” said the Sheikh.
He said in Saudi Arabia, those who claimed to have sighted the moon were required to go to court and swear an affidavit before the declaration to end Ramadhan was made. 
Religious text
Sheikh Abu Qatada, a Mombasa cleric, however defended those who started the celebrations earlier, saying the crescent moon had been sighted.
“This is a long running controversy. Religious text has debated on it for eons,” said Sheikh Qatada, who is the resident Imam of Masjid Ibrahim in Ganjoni.
He said Muslims worldwide held the prayer yesterday, save for a few in Mombasa, who were following the Chief Kadhi.
“The Imams are all basing their ruling on traditions of the prophet, and stories of the Swahaba (companions), but there is a difference on how people interpret this issue,” said Qatada.
The prayers at Tononoka grounds were led by Sheikh Yaasir Abdulkari, a teacher at Munawarra in Majengo.
In Tana River, the prayers were led by Sheikh Ustad Rashid.
“The Islamic calendar is very clear and those criticising us are not fair. We have the right to follow any Caliph and not necessarily the Arabian Calendar,” said Qatada.
The Chief Kadhi, however, downplayed the controversy, saying Idd was a three-day event and it was okay for Muslims to celebrate at different times.
He is today expected to lead Idd prayers at Mombasa’s Ronald Ngala School.
Two mosques
In Tana River, only two of the 15 mosques in Hola town held their celebrations yesterday. Garissa was also among towns where Muslims celebrated earlier yesterday.
In Meru, Muslims braved the chilly weather to converge in mosques to mark Idd yesterday, going with the Saudi Arabian sighting.
[Benard Sanga, Ishaq Jumbe, Hassan Barisa, Abdimalik Hajir and Darlington Manyara]

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